Whoah! July has whizzed by!
Did you know that July is National Ice Cream Month? And to think, I almost let the whole month slip by without making any ice cream! In my defense, when a pregnant lady wants ice cream, she usually wants it right now…and that tends to lend itself better to buying Ben and Jerry’s than buying heavy cream and separating eggs. But homemade ice cream really is a treat, and I insist you make some before the summer is out!
Without further ado, here is the recipe for my all-time favorite chocolate ice cream. It is simple to make, assuming you are patient (though I suppose all homemade ice cream requires superhuman patience), and you will be absolutely delighted with every bite!
What I love about this ice cream is that it uses bittersweet chocolate and not too much sugar, which means it has a rather grown-up flavor. It is rich and not too sweet, like a proper chocolate truffle. Yum!
Start by heating cream and Dutch process cocoa powder to a boil, whisking constantly. If you don’t have Dutch process cocoa powder, either because you can’t find it or don’t want to spend the money, you can certainly use regular cocoa, but I think the more subtle flavor of the Dutch process cocoa is worth it!
When the cream mixture is nice and hot, whisk in the chopped bittersweet chocolate. I used Valrhona 66% for this batch (and unfortunately, mine was starting to get a bit old…the saver in me is proud, but the spender in me is shocked that I resisted using it long enough to allow such a travesty!), but I have also used Ghirardelli 72% in the past…anywhere in that bittersweet range will be delightful. Just make sure you pick a chocolate that you enjoy!
Stir in the remaining cream and then transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Go ahead and set a fine mesh strainer on top of the bowl—you will need it shortly for the custard base.
In a small bowl (but big enough to accommodate about 2 cups of liquid), whisk together your egg yolks. I recommend saving your egg whites for another use later, especially since this recipe calls for 5 eggs! Set the yolks aside.
Whisk together the whole milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt in the newly vacated saucepan (this ensures that none of your chocolate goes to waste!). Now, this ice cream is obviously not a healthful snack, but an indulgent treat. However, you could make it slightly less indulgent by using 2% milk instead of whole milk…I wouldn’t recommend going any leaner than that. Heat the milk mixture until it begins to steam, them remove it from the heat.
Temper the egg yolks by carefully and slowly streaming the hot milk into the yolks, whisking the yolks constantly. You don’t want to cook the egg yolks by warming them too fast all at once! When all of the milk mixture has been combined with the yolks, return the whole shebang to the saucepan and set over low heat.
Stir with a spatula, making sure you regularly scrape the bottom of the pan so nothing cooks down there. The goal is to thicken the custard mixture enough to coat the back of the spatula. For me, this took about 8 minutes over low heat.
Now pour the slightly thickened custard through the mesh strainer into the chocolate cream mixture. The strainer should catch any little bits of egg that did actually harden…you definitely don’t want that in your finished ice cream! Stir, add vanilla, and stir again to make sure everything is smooth and well mixed.
Cover and cool in the fridge for about 1 hour.
When the ice cream batter comes out of the fridge, give it a quick whisk and then pour it into your waiting ice cream maker! Freeze according to manufacturer instructions (and remember, liquid-filled ice cream makers must freeze for many hours prior to using them, so make sure you have planned ahead). I have a Kitchenaid ice cream maker, and it took about 25 minutes for my ice cream to freeze.
The ice cream will probably be quite soft straight from the churn, so store it in the freezer for about an hour before serving. If it gets too hard to scoop in the freezer, simply set it on the counter for a few minutes before scooping.
Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream
very lightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
makes 1 quart/serves 4–6
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup (5 oz.) extra bittersweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
pinch of salt
5 egg yolks
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Warm 1 cup heavy cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to blend. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.
Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, whisking until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup heavy cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl for use later.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Very slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly; be sure not to cook the egg yolks while adding the milk mixture.
Scrape the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom, again being wary of cooking the eggs.
When the mixture thickens enough to coat the spatula, pour the custard through the mesh strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla.
Chill the ice cream batter thoroughly in the refrigerator at least 1 hour. If, after the batter is chilled, it is thick and pudding-like, whisk vigorously so that it will be pourable.
Churn the ice cream in the ice cream maker about 20–30 minutes, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.